December 13, 2009

There are those that recognize my creativity and think of me as right-brained. And there are those who know me for process and financial acumen and think of me as totally left-brained. I have always struggled with what might be amiss that I seem to have moments throughout my life when I demonstrate strengths in both; confusing those around me because all of a sudden I do not “fit” in the category in which they have placed me.

For years, I have bristled at those that use the terms creativity and innovation interchangeably. To me, creativity was just an innate ability to come up with something different; while innovation was the ability to apply that creative idea to meet an objective and accomplish a purpose. So when clients did not praise our “creative ideas”, I was usually the lone wolf preaching that no, the client wasn’t the problem, we had somehow missed the mark. For most of my life, that has been met with blank stares and if anyone agreed, it was only to humor me or to get me to shut up!

So when I saw the December issue of the Harvard Business Review and its cover advertised this issue was a “Spotlight on Innovation”, I bought it, thinking – finally I am going to be vindicated and my way of thinking validated.

And with that, a whole new way of thinking opened up before me!

Innovators engage both sides of the brain as they leverage the five discovery skills to create new ideas…creativity is connecting things…Innovators question, observe, experiment and network. Then they associate those four patterns of action to cultivate new insights. And best of all, this is not necessarily an innate skill – it can be developed and strengthened with practice. Innovators question, observe, experiment and network more than typical executives because they are motivated by two common themes- they actively desire to change the status quo rather than accept the tendency to prefer an existing state of affairs and they embrace a mission for change which makes it easier to take risks and make mistakes.

Wow. All that in the first article! I’m not sure I will have enough time to accomplish all the things I have just added to my “to-do” list that will lead me to become an innovative entrepreneur, but today, I shall start down that path to see what I can learn.

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